« السابقةمتابعة »
SER M. for, are alone abundantly fufficient to XVI. make good the Obfervation. For whether we confider the difficulty and small probability there was, of preventing the Defigns laid against our Religion and Liberty; or whether we confider the greatnefs of the Calamities that would have. enfued, had thofe Defigns took effect; or the greatness of thofe Bleffings, which through the Mercy of God did follow upon their being difappointed; I believe we shall not meet with any Event in Hiftory, wherein the Providence of God can feem more vifibly to have concerned itfelf, or to have given more evident Marks of its governing and over-ruling all things. Had that fecret Treafon, which was carried on in Darkness where no Eye faw it, been as fuccefsful as it was fecretly contrived; and the Glory and Flower of the Nation been permitted to fall at once by the black malice of Implacable men; the Reformation of our Religion, and the wife Conftitution of our Government had perifhed together; and what unspeakable Confufion would have fucceeded that dreadful Blow, no mortal can tell. In
like manner, had the later Defigns which SER M. have fince been carried on against this XVI. Nation, to fubvert our Laws and extirpate our Religion, been permitted by the unLearchable Judgment of God to have prevailed and taken effect; we had once again exchanged Religion for Superftition, and well-constituted Government for Tyranny; and together with Us had perished the Liberties of all Europe. But though the first of these Attempts was managed with fo much Caution and Secrecy, as feemed to fecure it from being discovered by any humane Wisdom; and though later Designs were carried on with fuch advantages of Power, and fuch appearance of Authority, as made the Enemies of 1 the Name of Proteftant, think it impoffible they should be disappointed; yet Providence did fo difcover the one, as to con¦ vince the world that there is no Darkness nor Shadow of Death where the Workers of Iniquity may hide themselves; and fo prevented the others, by the feasonable Coming of his late Majefty of happy Memory; as to fhow that with God it is all one to fave by Many or by Few; who
SÉR M. who breaketh the arm of the wicked, and XVI. weakeneth the strength of the mighty, and delivereth the poor from him that is too ftrong for him.
BUT it will be proper to fpeak more diftinctly and particularly of this matter, when we come to apply the general Obfervations which I fhall raise from the Text, to the Special occafion of our af fembling This Day; in fome useful and practical Inferences from the whole Difcourfe.
THE Obfervations therefore, which may first be raised in general from the words, are thefe: 1ft, That the Provi dence of God prefides over and governs all things, and has a peculiar Influence upon all the great Events that happen unto Men. 2dly, That This, as it is obfervable in all the great periods of every particular man's Life, fo it is more efpecially and remarkably true, in refpect of fuch Events, wherein the Fates of whole Nations and Kingdoms are concerned: The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought, he maketh the devices of the people to be of none effect.
I. First i
1. First, THE Providence of God pre-SER M. fides over and governs all things, and has XVI. a peculiar Influence upon all the great Events that happen unto Men. Upon all the Great Events, I fay; not to exclude Providence from regarding even the fmalleft things as well as the greateft, but becaufe These are eafieft and most useful for Us to obferve; and in These the Footfteps of Providence may with more certainty be traced.
a certain Sect among the Ancient Philofophers, who though they pretended to believe the Being of God, yet they denied his particular Providence and Infpection over all Events; and the Actions and Contrivances of many who call themfelves Chriftians, however contrary their Profeffion may be, give but too just occasion to place them in the fame rank. These men thought that the Life of God confifted merely in Reft and doing nothing; and that he had no regard to the Events of Things, or the Actions of men on Earth; but left all to be managed by the Chance or the Fate of Second Caufes: They thought, and fo far
SER M. indeed very juftly, that God could not but XVI. be an infinitely happy Being, perfectly free from all that Care and Labour, that Toil and Anxiety, which makes a great part of the Mifery of humane Life: But muft he therefore be a mere unactive Being? Cannot he with the fame Ease wherewith he made the World, a work of infinite Power, Wisdom, and Counsel, govern it alfo and prefide over it; Cannot he who at one View fees and obferves all things that are done in the world, concern himfelf for the Benefit and Well-government of his Creatures, without diminishing from his own infinite Happiness? especially fince Happiness confifts, not in doing nothing, but in doing good; and infinite Happiness is nothing else, but the perfecteft exercise, of infinite Power, Wisdom, and Goodness. To fee and to know all things that are done in the world, is a natural and neceffary Attribute of an Omniprefent Mind: To rule and order all things which are prefent before him, cannot but be infinitely eafy to Almighty Power; and nothing can be more abfurd, than to fuppofe that God being thus neceffarily every-where-pre